As the Nexus 4 reaches its mid life and the rumor mill is churning out its guesses at the next iteration of the device, i thought now would be a good time too reflect on my purchase. Re visit my thoughts of the device pre purchase what i think now and what i`m hoping for in the next device.
Before i started writing i went back and re read my posts regarding the N4 pre release on Google +, i was quite vocal in the threads regarding the hot topics, LTE, removable battery and expandable storage. I even wrote an article (rant?) on here and a had a rebuttle posted by Michael Grasser (that will never be mentioned in our house :-p).
So after 6 months am i eating my words have all the detractors been proved right?
Lets look at the issues individually
When defending/arguing the lack of LTE on the N4 i was always looking at the device firstly for my own needs and secondly on an international level, I stand by what i said for me in my country. 4G/LTE is still a novelty unattainable for anyone bar EE customers (and still at exhobarant pricing and limited availability), even when the next Nexus releases im not sure LTE will be widely available in the UK. Three (which is my network) has even announced that there will be no additional charge when 4G/LTE is available on their network, if the next Nexus supports LTE all well and good but i would not sacrifice the battery for it and it would not put me off purchasing the next gen if it lacks it. Maybe it is because ive never used 4G, maybe people are right if i ever did try it i would never be able to go back to 3G. Who knows but as of now im happy with 3G and 4G would be a bonus but not a necessity
Expandable storage. This one is an easy one for me, I am balls deep in Google i embrace every new release and utilize all their online storage facilities I had a panic attack the other day due to a post on G+ regarding peoples reliance on cloud storage. It brought home to me how much reliance and trust i am placing in Google, what would happen if (god forbid) my Google account was suspended. When the dust settled i realized i had made the choice, i was trusting a company that is good at what it does, more than that i believe in Google as a company and until they change my mind i will stop panicking and enjoy the service and more relevant to this article not worry about expandable storage. I never maxed out my S2, Gnex or the N4, i begrudge having photos physically on my device and periodically empty them, i also have no music physically on my device, this frees up space for stuff like games. For some people the lack of expandable storage on their mobile device is a deal breaker, to them i say stop bitching and choose one of the many competent devices out there that do, for me it works and im happy. (I have unlimited data)
Battery. This one is a little trickier, i cannot say in good conscience that the battery on the N4 is anything to write home about, but in the same vein it isn’t dire either. A smart phone is a power hungry little fellow and unfortunately battery technology does not seem to follow the same upward trend as mobile phone technology. So two choices are left increase the physical size of the battery and therefore increasing the size of the phone (Note 2) or restrict the performance of the phone. Now as i said the N4 is not the best battery but i don’t think the balance is too bad, i personally have a car charger and a home charger and i am yet to be faced with a flat phone. In summary it would be nice to have a longer lasting battery but i think the same could be said for any smart phone.
Another hot topic surrounding the N4 was the balance between cost and build quality/performance. Now i think anyone who has played with the N4 would have to agree no compromise was made on performance, it flew when it was new and it flies now (I am stock rooted with Buzz as my launcher). Now build quality is another issue, i have read endless posts in various communities etc regarding issues with the N4, niggling build quality issues whether it be the proximity sensor, the annoying sim card tray rattle, BT issues, WI-FI , issues, camera issues, sliding issues, glass issues i could go on forever with the complaints ive read.
I think a nexus phone is a standard bearer for the Android community and embraced by the tech savvy, therefore by default is going to be put under the microscope by people who have a greater understanding about their purchase and are passionate. I personally have only experienced the BT issue rarely and the proximity sensor now and again. As Christopher Rizzo said in a debate regarding the N4, no matter what the cost of the device some things should just work, the proximity sensor falls into that category and is super annoying when it happens.
Another hot topic is the sliding issue which ties into the glass issue, many a post i have read about the N4 sliding off a -not quite flat surface -and the back glass breaking. I concur the N4 is very slippery, ive said as much on here, but the delicacy of the N4 has raised a question for me. Ive had a few smart phones and treated them as a tool, taken care of but used and sometimes a little carelessly, my Gnex and S2 had various bumps dents and scrapes (but luckily never a broken screen) six months on and my N4 is as it was when it left its box, i am verging on OCD regarding how careful i am am with the device, i am not prepared to find out if the back is a delicate as everyone (who is unfortunate to have broke one) says. So this is my question to myself, has the fear of dropping it ruined the experience or am i just showing an expensive piece of tech the respect it deserves. I am leaning towards the latter, i have a case on for work and when i get home and take the case off i still after 6 months love it, “it feels so good in the hand” (That ones for you Shaun Nicholson)
So what does the future hold for the next Nexus? Sunder Pichai in a recent interview with wired.com touched on the fact that this years IO will focus more on Devs and software than hardware, so don’t expect any ground breaking news regarding the N4 or should we (princess bride style?) There’s plenty of speculation out there but no one really knows, we can only guess and dream. In a fantasy world my next Nexus would be either the Oppo find 5 or the HTC One, they at the moment are my favorite devices (phone porn). This again raises another question, I love both those devices but if Google put out their next Nexus at similar build quality and spec would i be prepared to stump up the extra cash? As i have said before i think Google got the balance of build quality, specs and price spot on with the N 4, its not perfect but for the price its as close as you will get.
Unless Google do something dire i will get the next Gen and until then i am more then happy with the LG offering of the Nexus device and wouldn’t be worried if the next Nexus is an LG.